Deep in the Mississippi River Delta, New Orleans lies below sea level in a bowl between the greatest river in North America and the largest saltwater estuary in the world(Lake Pontch – doye). So just what is the highest point in the city? If we just want to get altitude – One Shell Square on Poydras is the tallest building, but I’m talking land.
What is the highest PEAK in the Big Sleazy?
Let’s inventory the hills and mountains in our metro area – shall we?
There’s the levee, of course.
Now in this picture from roughly two-hundred fucking years ago, you can see the people on top of the levee looking way down at the river bank in the distance. Original man-made levees in New Orleans were built on top of the natural levees that the river made while pushing all the silt and dirt from the whole country down south and out into the Gulf of Mexico.
Besides the levee, there are little hills here and there on golf courses and parks, but none of them are really high enough to write home about.
Monkey Hill in Audubon Zoo has long been fabled as the tallest point in New Orleans. This famous hill “got its start in 1933 with New Deal funds. The story goes that the Works Progress Administration brought in sand to create the 15-foot mountain to give the children of flat New Orleans the experience of a hill.”
Monkey Hill in Audubon Zoo circa 40 or 50 years ago when it really sucked.
In the early 2000s, Monkey Hill had a makeover. Now sitting atop the old hill is a neat new five-level, 20-foot-tall treehouse that gives a scenic view of the zoo. There is also a series of ramps wrapping around a pecan tree, a rope bridge, bronze lion sculptures and wading pools. Talk about a luxurious mountain!
View from the top of Monkey Hill now. Holy smokes!
I even rode a majestic lion.
By the way, on the way to Monkey Hill, I snapped some photos of these guys:
And yes, this is a baby anteater chillaxing on his pops(or moms).
WAIT A SECOND! We are still discussing hills and mountains in New Orleans!
The next peak up for review is…
Le Montagne de Garde
Deep in the Couterie forest in City Park lies a 53 foot-tall MOUNTAIN with several trails on it running up to the top. Here’s how to get there. Go to Scout Island. Take the Pig Trail(Piste de Cochon) to the left.
Admire the craftsmanship of the crow’s nest deck at the very top.
Check out the dizzying view.
This “Pig Trail” may prove to be a new trail running spot for me. Anywho, We have a certifiable high point in the city.
THE MOUNTAIN in City Park is the highest peak in New Orleans. I highly recommend you attempt to summit this winter while the trail is clean and the air is brisk. May your expedition be a success.